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University of Miami Wins ABIs 17th Annual Duberstein National Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition

Contact: Carolyn Kanon



March 18, 2009 Alexandria, Va. — A team from the University of Miami School of Law won the 17th Annual Chief Judge Conrad B. Duberstein National Bankruptcy Memorial Moot Court Competition, overcoming a tough challenge from the University of Kansas. The University of Miami also won the competition in 2003, and won third place and best brief at the 2008 competition.

Forty-six teams from law schools all around the country, comprised of 2-3 students each, took part in this year's competition, held March 14-16 in New York. The competition, the nation's only moot court competition devoted entirely to bankruptcy, is jointly sponsored by the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) and St. John's University School of Law, and is named for St. John's alumnus and former ABI Director Chief Judge Conrad B. Duberstein.

The annual competition problem focuses on two sophisticated cutting-edge issues of bankruptcy law. This year's problem was set in the context of the current economic downturn and the ongoing debate over whether modern structured finance techniques are useful commercial innovations or 'financial weapons of mass destruction,' as Warren Buffett has suggested.

'This year's teams were unbelievably good. This was a very difficult problem, yet the students mastered it and presented better arguments than you usually hear in actual appellate cases,' said G. Ray Warner, Professor of Law and Director of the Bankruptcy LL.M. program at St. John's. 'With such timely issues, the competition also gives the judges an outstanding presentation of issues that they will soon see in their own courts.'

The ABI Endowment Fund provided $13,000 in prize money to the top team and individual competitors. The first-place winner received $5,000 and the second-place team won $3,000. Teams from DePaul University College of Law and the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law each received $1,500 for their third-place tie, and a team from Southern Methodist University won $1,000 for the Best Brief. Ashley H. Nader, a student at the Mississippi College School of Law, won the $1,000 Best Oral Advocate award. The final round was held on Monday, March 16, at the Brooklyn Bankruptcy Courthouse, which was officially renamed the Conrad B. Duberstein United States Bankruptcy Courthouse during a ceremony the same day.

Nearly 200 lawyers and judges helped judge the event, which included eight rounds of arguments. In addition to New York-area bankruptcy judges, ABI brought in a dozen bankruptcy judges from around the nation to judge the advanced rounds and attend the awards dinner, held on March 16 at Pier 60, Chelsea Piers in Manhattan. The final-round judges were Hon. Jerry E. Smith (U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit), Hon. Jeffrey S. Sutton (U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit), Hon. Michael J. Melloy (U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit), Hon. Stuart M. Bernstein (Chief Judge, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, S.D.N.Y.) and Hon. Carla E. Craig (Chief Judge, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, E.D.N.Y.).

Further information on the 17th Annual Chief Judge Conrad B. Duberstein National Bankruptcy Memorial Moot Court Competition, as well as information on previous winners, can be found at


ABI is the largest multi-disciplinary, nonpartisan organization dedicated to research and education on matters related to insolvency. ABI was founded in 1982 to provide Congress and the public with unbiased analysis of bankruptcy issues. The ABI membership includes nearly 12,000 attorneys, accountants, bankers, judges, professors, lenders, turnaround specialists and other bankruptcy professionals, providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and information. For additional information on ABI, visit For additional conference information, visit